The hungry, adaptable Shame Fein heading for serious leverage in the Dail have to fight their way out again from under an Adams controversy!!
THE ruthlessness of republicains was there for all to see this week, as well as confusion, even concern. Those polls showing Shame Fein voters in the Republic holding up well have to outweigh a rare drop in support for the party president, Gerry (who was never in the PIRA) Adams.
Internal analysts know the damage may take a while to soak through, but the picture has a stubborn sort of smudge. Despite his storm-tossed recent past and his fantasy farther-past, the father/grandfather figure at the helm has consistently rated as well as, often better than the other Dail leaders. Now the Gerry Adams factor has become more complicated. Shame Fein is resilient, for good reason. Handling the fallout from atrocities over decades taught the fore-runners of today’s machine-minders. Rule number one is still to stay whatever needs saying. Much as other parties but with the additional element that you expected to be disbeleved, indeed scorned. Rule number two used to be to then say no more. Today’s leaders abandoned that some time back, and as a result have talked themselves into various binds. The Adams public persona stood up well to early peace processing. Bearing, gravitas, withheld personality all contributed desirable seriousness, a touch of statesman to combat the scary PIRA reputation, reassurance that whatever about bombs under roads and taped-up bodies in ditches this person had leadership quality. These past few years leave that quality a touch shorn. The flippery of social media in senior hands, the triviality of blogging, rubber ducks, teddy bears, have arguably played into the shearing as much as the tragedy and ugliness of sexual abuse, the loss of credibility involved in denying PIRA membership. But when it came to everyday dealing with people beyond ‘the base’, the Adams touch always looked stodgy at best, bogus at worst, compared to that of his fellow leader: boyish Martin (J118) McGuinness grin, etcetera. No point in the enemies of republicanism miming nausea and recalling McGuinness, ruthless PIRA-boss. Playing a regular guy worked a treat.
The ruthlessnees remains, of course. As it does in the DNA of the organisation both leaders have steered through past dual life into today’s supposed exclusive devotion to the practice of democratic politics. What a bad Adams idea that has been, the jokey repetition about an entirely unfunny outfit of ‘it hasn’t gone away you know.’ Although widened to supposedly fit just about any manifestation of republicanism, the phrase stayed freightened with old menace, yet here was someone revelling in it. Now he and they, the enterprise of his middle years, the hungry, adaptable Shame Fein heading for serious leverage in the Dail have to fight their way out again from under an Adams controversy, crude mis-speaks: self-harming? Legacy issues, he blogs, another phrase someone should take away from him, like the ducks. This time, the ‘legacy’ only dates back to 1997. The enemies help keep the Adams defence apparently united: unthinkable to give him the shove at the behest of Enda Kenny, the Sunday Independent, Micheal Martin. But this may be erosion under way, in full veiw of the unfriendly as well as the faithful. For ruthlessness this week (the second in command of the PIRA) the McGuinness contribution was hard to beat, old dog for the hard road that he is, as he suggested the time had come for the media to ‘target’ the ‘alleged perpetrator’: the unspoken part of the sentence being ‘instead of my president’. So in a second, the blameless, acquitted person, Shame Fein had originally complained on behalf of, against the wrecking ball of Mairia Cahill accusation, became a non-person, a target. The other acquittees must surely have felt a draught. Outside the fold in a trice, dumped. How about that. In the welter of allegation, denial, half-apology and partial admission, some may have missed this devlopment. They may also have missed the dirty fight, down at trolling level, out in Twitter and blogospheres, where some stuck with the original line by having at the ‘complainant’, by ‘liking’ and ‘re-tweeting’. Appealed to by Mairia Cahill, Mary-Lou McDonald duly denounced. But it didn’t stop. An extra problem Shame Fein has now is the speed and slippperiness of social media. No doubt they want to close this episode down, but the internet seethes away. And Mairia Cahill is her own woman. Sense of duty is a quality in ruthless people that even those who loathe their ’cause’ can admire. Behind those unreadable Adams eyes, there might even be the germ of a thought: maybe, for the cause, it’s time to go. Before push comes to shove.
With many thanks to: Fionnuala O’ Connor, The Irish News, for the origional story.